INDIA: LAND OF THE TIGER spans the Indian subcontinent, including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. But in its exploration of India, the program ranges across the breadth and width of the world's sixth largest nation -- from the spectacular coral reefs along its eastern and western coasts to moist rainforests and parched deserts, from sodden lowlands periodically flooded by the sea to the towering Himalayas that ring its northern borders. Each of the six one-hour episodes focuses on one region or habitat type, providing never-before-seen glimpses into the lives of the subcontinent's plants, animals, and people.
Episode One: The Tiger's Domain
Episode Two: Sacred Waters
The Ganges and the Brahmaputra, rivers that roll down to the sea from their headwaters in the high mountains of northern India, are two of the nation's most sacred waterways. They are also home to a rich tapestry of wildlife, including the greatest concentration of tigers in the world. INDIA: LAND OF THE TIGER takes viewers on an extraordinary tour of the marshes and floodplains that provide rich feeding grounds along the rivers. In the marshes of Bharatpur, thousands of painted storks and millions of other waterfowl nest and feed, creating a world of birds. The marshes are also home to remarkable fishing cats, who snag fish with their hook-like claws, and powerful monitor lizards, who wait in the shallows to swallow a fallen chick or egg. Downstream, in Kaziranga, is a land of the giants. Elephants, rhinos, giant water buffalo, and tigers have all found a refuge in this lush grassland. Finally, where the Ganges empties into the sea, INDIA: LAND OF THE TIGER takes viewers into the Sundarbans, a massive mangrove swamp inhabited by tigers that swim and fish that walk across land. The tigers may take no notice of the tiny mudskippers, fish that can wiggle across the tidal flats at low water in search of a sheltering pool. But the big cats pay plenty of attention to the deer and other prey that inhabit the tangled vegetation.
Episode Three: Unknown Seas
Episode Four: Desert Kingdom
India's desert, which stretches from the nation's northwest corner west into Pakistan, may look dry and desolate. But it is in fact alive with wildlife and people, who have forged unusual alliances in the quest for survival. Outside the tiny village of Kheechan, for instance, thousands of Demoiselle cranes gather on the dunes each winter. They come to feed on the bushels of grain that the village's people, who believe the birds to be symbols of good luck, spread for the birds. INDIA: LAND OF THE TIGER also takes viewers to Pushkar, to the age-old camel fair. Here, teams of camel hairdressers make sure each camel looks its best before being put up for sale. In the town of Bishnoi, viewers meet the amazing Bishnoi people, a tribe of strict vegetarians who have become stewards of desert wildlife. Deer and other animals flock to Bishnoi villages, knowing that they will be secure. The Bishnoi have even been known to give up their own lives to poachers to protect the desert's animals. At the desert city of Jodhpur, sentinels of another kind keep watch: flocks of bearded vultures, natural garbage disposals that can strip a cow carcass clean of meat in less than half an hour. The giant birds help keep the crowded city clean. To survive, other desert animals have also learned interesting tricks. Some fish, for instance, have evolved to the point where they are able to walk across the sands when their pools of water begin to dry up, while huge flocks of flamingos have learned to rush in when spring rains temporarily flood the sands to turn desolate dunes into flowery refuges.
Episode Five: Mountains of the Gods
India's northern border is marked by the highest mountain chain in the world: the snow-covered Himalayas. This thousand-mile wall of rock and ice, up to six miles high in places, demands stamina and resourcefulness from its inhabitants, both people and wildlife.
Episode Six: Monsoon Forests
In the remnants of India's once-vast rainforests, which stretch across south and central India and to the island nation of Sri Lanka off India's southern tip, giant hornbills flock to fig trees, gulping down the sweet fruit with their huge, banana-shaped bills. Nearby, lion-tailed macaques, nilgiri langurs, and other primates find their own meal amidst the lush trees, which are fueled by the annual monsoon storms that can bring 30 feet of rain or more. On the forest floor, elephants pick their way through the tree trunks, careful not to step on a resting king cobra: a single bite from the venomous snake could kill a baby elephant. A fate of a different kind awaits many of the forest's insects: death at the end of a chameleon's long, sticky tongue. INDIA: LAND OF THE TIGER provides viewers with an intimate portrait of all of these forest inhabitants and more, including the remarkable flying lizard, which can glide hundreds of feet from treetop perches to the ground. It also highlights the extraordinary relationship between fig trees and wasps, which depend on each other for their survival. Each of the 900 kinds of fig has its own species of pollinating wasp, which live inside the fruit and carry pollen from tree to tree. Indeed, the fig is so important to life in these forests that people have forged a special bond with some especially large figs trees, worshipping under their outstretched branches.